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A fresh take on doc pitching arrives at Jihlava fest’s East European Forum

2010-09-14

PRAGUE: The 10th edition of the East European Forum at the 14th Jihlava IDFF (www.dokument-festival.cz ) brings a significant change to the pitching sessions held each year for the international documentary film professionals. Instead of a series of general discussions following project pitches, the participants will sit at smaller Feedback Round Tables that will enable the authors of projects to have direct discussions with commissioning editors interested in their work.

Each project will have up to 10 minutes to present a trailer and pitch, which will not be followed by any discussions apart from a few questions that the moderator may ask to clear up the presentation. After all the pitches a set of five Feedback Round Tables with several commissioning editors will be available only to accredited observers. Each project will have 15 minutes at each table for in-depth discussions. A moderator and a note taker will be assigned to each table so that the participants can later read the transcript of the meeting. After these sessions, individual meetings will be arranged for selected projects.

The forum's organizers point out that the new system brings closer contact between pitching film professionals and commissioning editors, more time for a detailed discussion and a more relaxed atmosphere. The drawbacks may be that a discussion right after the pitch could generate more interesting questions and that the editors will not be able to carefully track of each other's opinions and preferences regarding the projects; this may be important in cases of joint presales or co-production decisions.

East European Forum doc presentation tutor Marijke Rawie advises participants to prepare for the new approach: "As always, be honest, be passionate, be prepared to answer questions; do not be shy or aggressive, but assertive and friendly; ask questions yourself if you do not understand a question of the commissioners. Prepare yourself for the commissioners that are at your table, know their names, know their slots, know if they can decide for themselves or if they have to ‘re-pitch' your project to their colleagues at their station, know how much they might be able to invest in your story, etc."

The Jihlava documentary festival takes place 26-31 October.